The T-bolts (3-3) are the five-time defending GWOC North champions, while Sidney, now 4-2, was off to its best start since 1996 and had lost only at Division II powerhouse Bellefontaine.
“We were expecting to play better,” Yellow Jacket head coach Dan Cairns said. “I feel bad for our kids. We were pretty fired up, and we haven’t had a big game like this in at least 12 years. I’m not sure if we weren’t too hyped because we were jumping off sides early in the game (3 penalties for 25 yards in their first possession). Xavier (Foy) is a fine quarterback for us, but when your leader throws more touchdown passes to the other team than to your team you are in for a long night.”
Foy (79 yards on 4-12 passing with three interceptions, two of them for touchdowns) was in the Miami Valley’s top three for passing efficiency entering the game and hadn’t thrown a pick in the last 14 games. Josh Topp led Sidney on this night with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown (12 carries), 47 yards receiving and an interception.
“I’m disappointed in the way we played because I know we can play better than that,” Cairns said. “I don’t think we saw our real team tonight, and Northmont’s record was deceiving. They lost three games to three very good teams (Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Centerville and Wayne), two by just a touchdown.
“Are they going to finish 3-7? I don’t think so. My hope was that they were going to finish 6-4 with a loss tonight, but that didn’t happen. Last year we beat them 17-14, but you can’t make the mistakes we made tonight and hope to beat a team of their caliber.”
Cairns coached previously at Brookside High School in suburban Cleveland.
“Defensively our goal was to not give up big plays,” Cairns continued. “On offense our goal was to just keep making first downs. Instead we sputtered, and in a great conference like this one if you don’t bring you’re ‘A’ game you are going down.
“We are very fullback oriented and they did a great job of stopping Mark Ahrens. He was averaging over seven yards a carry coming into this game. When Mark does well we are tough to stop.”
Northmont took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards to take a 7-0 lead on a Mark Mays (116 yards on 13 carries) counter play. Sidney went three plays and out, and the T-Bolts responded with a nine play, 60-yard drive culminating in another May scoring plunge.
Sidney regrouped and impressively drove the length of the field, but Daren Youngberg intercepted a Foy pass in the red zone and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown as the first quarter ended. A fake punt on its next possession resulted in yet another interception (by Danny Gress) and one play later John Nussman found C.J. Taylor in the endzone to put the game out of reach, 28-0.
The T-Bolts had 385 yards of total offense to 240 yards by the Yellow Jackets.
“The kids played well. It was one of those nights when everything just clicked,” head coach Lance Schneider said. “We played a tough schedule to get us prepared for the league and hopefully the playoffs. We lost a couple of games we could have won. We learned from them, and hopefully we have made corrections in time for games down the stretch.
“We might be able to make the playoffs at 6-4, so it is all part of the plan. The key thing is that our side of the GWOC (North) did a great job in their non-league games, so now everybody has a winning record. That means a lot of computer points for us if we beat them down the road. I don’t like to look too far ahead, but maybe we have a chance to win out.”
Next season the T-Bolts move to the GWOC Central Division.
“I’m glad we are going to play in a stronger division,” Schneider continued, “even without the large student body everyone else will have. Right now, Wayne, Centerville, and Northmont are the three big school powers in the Dayton area. I’m glad we will be able to play those teams every year. You have to play the best to be the best, and it is going to be a great round robin.
“It’s going to make for great football. We’re going to miss playing the other teams from the GWOC north because they have been fine rivalries for a long time, but we are going to play much better competition week in and week out and it is something that I am really looking forward to.”
Schneider has built programs from the ground up and he has nothing but admiration for the Sidney program.
“Dan is doing a great job up there,” Schneider acknowledged. “The key to building any program is getting kids into the weight room. You can tell that they are getting that done (third in the state power lifting team championships), but they just don’t have enough guys to match up with all of the firepower that we have. He’s the right guy for the job and they have come a long way.”
Before the game, the stadium was renamed “Good Samaritan Stadium.” In exchange for naming rights, Good Samaritan Hospital has agreed to pay Northmont $100,000 each of the next ten years and they will continue to supply trainers and facilities for the Northmont athletic programs.